The moment you enter your professional life, your social life automatically shrinks. Needless to say, the time and attention span is limited. Usually, people are up for a lively conversation with friends but more often than not there comes a time when you have to cut it short and get back to work.
The choice is yours, either continue talking or suffer the stress of knowing that you have many other tasks to accomplish today, or end the chat without offending or rejecting anyone. It is perfectly acceptable to limit your social interactions while at work. If you do it correctly, people will understand that you are not cutting them out of your life. You want to talk to them, but you do have to prioritize in order to get things done. Here are a few tips that can help.
- GIVE VISUAL SIGNALS
When someone approaches you, pause but not for too long, keep on working. Most people will get the message that you are busy. Another approach is to use headphones to give a visual signal that you are trying to concentrate.
- EXCUSE YOURSELF
Listen for a brief time to be polite, and then simply say, “Excuse me, I’d love to talk more, but I have a deadline to attend to.” If they continue the conversation anyway, respond firmly with, “Let’s set up a time to talk later.”
- SET AN APPOINTMENT
You don’t want to risk offending someone with whom you are trying to establish a relationship, so if you are too busy at the moment to chat, suggest finding another time, like lunch or drinks after hours, that will work for the both of you.
- THE ‘PASS OFF.’
When you are trapped in a confused conversation, pull in another person to join you if possible. Introduce the topic to the new person, and once the other two get a conversation going, politely excuse yourself and don’t look back.
- STATE A PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT
As a last-ditch plan, you can always blame an urgent engagement, such as a promised phone call or a scheduled appointment, and use that excuse to break off the conversation.